Sales teams are taking advantage of big data and sales automation technology to focus their people on the most value added aspects of customer acquisition. By doing this, they are creating an accelerated sales process which is outcompeting earlier models of sales organization.
By Zen Newman, Marketing Analyst at PipelineDeals
I recently had the pleasure of attending Zoominfo’s Seattle meet up on data-driven lead generation. A theme that came up throughout the event is sales acceleration. Sales leaders can’t get enough of it. Its utterance heralds the promise of something from nothing, of renewed sales vigor just around the corner. Behind all the buzz, there is a very real methodology of sales acceleration. One could say, it’s where selling starts to become a science. Understanding that sales acceleration is increasingly resembling engineering requires a readjustment from traditional ways of thinking which can create challenges for sales teams that are used to a different way of doing things. While the potential gains are tremendous, the transition isn’t for the faint of heart; sales culture inside of a growth engine needs to be very different than in traditionally organized teams.
The single largest challenge for any sales team is how to maximize productive time in the day. There are many of tasks that are put on a salesperson’s plate every day by managers, customers, and themselves. These added responsibilities have a way of piling up, even for those good at managing their time. A central part of effective selling, and of sales acceleration, comes down to getting these additional tasks off of salespeople so that they are free to focus exclusively on customer-facing revenue generating activities.
Sales leaders who are at the forefront of this trend are accomplishing this with the use of sales automations and purified data. Salespeople in these organizations are provided extensive lists of contacts who have been verified by data providers and through inbound marketing channels. Gone are the days of calling down a phonebook and trying to find the decision makers. As leads feed into the sales channel, contacts undergo multiple automated touch points via email and social media.
In this system, marketers own the creation of leads, and the quality of the data in those leads. Data purification software like Zoominfo is incorporated to maximize the quality of leads. Sales enablement then manages the structure of the sales process including automations and sales assets such as content and emails that are served to the leads. All of this support frees sales to do what they do best—sell. In this example, salespeople can focus on outbound calls and follow up with clients who are moving forward through the buying process. By removing activities that are traditionally carried out by the sales team, such as prospecting for leads, and sending emails, sellers can operate with much greater efficiency. More efficient salespeople can make more calls and ultimately sell more, for their benefit and that of the company.
The current state of sales acceleration essentially boils down to hyper focused specialization. Various teams take responsibilities for different parts of the sales funnel with the goal of making the salesperson’s job as simple as possible. The nuisances of the sales process are going to vary from industry to industry, but the essential elements are always going to be the same. Get the sales team as focused as possible. Provide them with quality leads that are complete with vital information. And, continuously measure the outcome, including activity metrics, conversion rates, and sales pipeline metrics. Supply, focus, measure, and repeat.
Converting the traditional sales team into a growth engine involves reimagining the role of sales, marketing and sales enablement. These groups can’t exist in their own silos if they’re going to pull it off. In fact, they need to be intimately tied into each other’s workflow. While many teams will no doubt find this transformation disruptive, organizations that organize in this way will continue to outcompete those that hold out. Change isn’t always comfortable, but for businesses looking to grow, it’s imperative.